In every presidential election Ghana has held since I began crossing the street by myself and wearing each chalewate on the appropriate foot, there has been a candidate who provided comic relief. Maybe this trend pre-dates the 2000 elections but I remember vividly the thrill we got during the first Kuffuor-Mills elections. It was from the person of the late Dan Lartey, leader of the Great Consolidated People’s Party. With his well-intentioned “Domestication” policy, he somehow got people cracking up whenever he was on GTV. Maybe it was his stammering, but he undoubtedly was the candidate people went to for comic relief.
In 2004, Dan Lartey was not in the race due to an alliance his party formed with other smaller parties. However, his humor was still in the running for “The most inadvertently funny politician”. Eventually, we got bored.
Then came Kofi Wayo. The tough talking, Cuban cigar puffing, and cowboy hat wearing man who had stayed in America for over 40 years and returned home speaking with a southern drawl and American bluntness. His accent alone was enough to get people literally laughing out loud. His populist policies did the rest of the magic. Kofi Wayo has stuck around ever since and occasionally, radio stations out of content call on him to amuse listeners. But beneath all the guffaws and “slurring” of the English Language are gems.
Fast forward to the last election and a woman by the name Akua Donkor took all the spotlight. A farmer by profession and unlettered educationally, her rise to fame in Ghana’s political circles was fortuitous. She was unable to fill her nomination fees on time and could barely have a policy without the word free in it. She was like the Oprah Winfrey of our politics. Everyone in the country was going to get some freebies once she became president. So why is she still relevant in Ghana’s body politic? Baffles me! But if anything explains her durability, it will be the ruling government’s pawning of her for their political gains.
Akua Donkor has been a vociferous critic of the biggest opposition’s flag bearer since she first announced her intentions to join the race for the Flagstaff House. She has called the man unprintable names, derided every single one of his policies without any worthy defense and recently said if Ghanaians can live with Nana Addo, then we surely can live in the same space with alleged terrorists. And there lies her utility to the government. The timing between her reemergence on our airwaves and Nana’s take on any national issue gives cause for this conclusion.
In the defense of the government however, her inclusion in national issues paints the picture of an all-inclusive government. I mean would the presence of an unlettered person with little to no understanding of rudimentary economics at a conference to deliberate on a national plan not be symbolic of inclusiveness? She is in governmental delegations to swearing in ceremonies and other official international trips. A sign of an all-inclusive government, right?
We cringe when we hear her speak. She blames Nkrumah’s decision to change the legal tender of the country from the pounds to the cedi for our current hardships and absolves all NDC governments of any wrongdoing. Even the government which propped her up feels squeamish when she speaks sometime. But we know what to expect from the like of Akua Donkor so we are not worried about her kind. She will never be a serious contender for the Flagstaff House. 26 years of democracy has taught us better, even though I must admit that we are struggling to fully actualize this.
How then should we feel about a country with 200 plus years of experience at this and a self-touted “bastion of democracy” which allows an Akua Donkor at the top of its opposition party’s polls? Why is Donald Trump a contender for the Oval Office and at the top of the charts? If you have never heard of the man then you are probably part of Akua Donkor’s strategy team.
Donald Trump is one of the biggest names in Real Estate housing. Did he chalk success in this? Depends on who you are asking. Trump Towers is one of the most iconic buildings in New York city and he has a couple around the world. But this empire was not self-made. As he said in one of his braggadocious interviews he “..had a small loan of a million dollars” from his father. Way to rub it in the face of us hoi polloi Trump! He definitely has done some good maintaining his father’s real estate empire but according to some estimates, if Trump had left all the wealth he inherited from his father untouched in some profit generating account, he would have been richer than he currently is. So he is not all that great of a business man.
But he wants to “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”. Like America morphed into Mogadishu during Obama’s tenures. In achieving this greatness, he wants to prop up the good ol WASP: White Anglo Saxon Protestant. So he plans on keeping Muslims out of America until they know “..what the hell is going on….”, kick out the “illegal Mexicans” and make Mexico pay for a wall to keep other Mexicans from coming in. He called Mexicans coming to America rapists, drug dealers and pretty much all the bad guys in a Hollywood movie.
Throwing caution to the wind whenever he is on a podium seems to be his specialty and political correctness resides nowhere in his dictionary. Why else would anyone running for office mock a man with a disability and then blame menstruation for the tough questions he got from a female moderator of a debate. Despite all this, he is doing great in the polls in a country with high marks in the education column of an HDI.
Trump appeals to a red blooded crowd which is still mad a black man is in office. This is the racist crowd that for far too long has wanted someone to speak up for them in this age where America’s demography is ever changing and white privilege keeps waning. So Bush, Christie and any other relatively well thinking GOP candidate does not appeal to them. The people filling up the bleachers are Trump’s rallies are the ones who are most likely to pull up white masks, and ride on horses while encircling a burning crucifix. Yes there might be some people in the mix who are not KKK fans but they are minute, far and wide between and most likely just on the verge of falling in between the cracks.
It is scary to think that Donald Trump could become the leader of the “free world”. If any man praises Kim Jon Il for how he deals with political dissent, then that is a man we must collectivize to prevent from laying his hand on a water pistol, talk less of nuclear warheads.
Akua Donkor’s somewhat prominence in our media might be the biggest negative externality of our democracy but when you think of the red faced and golden toupee (he claims it his natural hair just as I claim to be the heir apparent to Michael Jordan) wearing leader in the GOP polls, smile and gulp down a bottle of sobolo! Our democracy is not doing that bad!!!